|Position:||Vice President, Director of Athletics & Adjunct Professor of Business Administration|
|Alma Mater:||St. Joseph's '72|
Kevin M. White was named Duke University’s vice president and director of athletics on May 31, 2008. He also serves as an adjunct professor of business administration at the university.
White, 68, arrived at Duke after leading Notre Dame’s athletics program for eight years. In addition to previously holding AD positions at Arizona State University, Tulane University, the University of Maine and Loras College in Iowa, White has served in a number of prominent national leadership roles within intercollegiate athletics, including his service in 2006-07 as president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and in 2005-06 as president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association.
Always in demand as a visionary leader, White currently serves as Chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee and as a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Board of Directors. In October of 2017, White was selected to chair the newly formed USOC Collegiate Advisory Council (CAC) to guide and strengthen Olympic sport programming at the collegiate level. The 10-member CAC is charged with bridging the gap between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic Movement.
A testament to the tremendous respect he has garnered within the college athletics community, White has earned multiple high profile awards throughout his career. That impressive list includes the GeneralSports TURF Systems Division I-A Central Region Athletic Director of the Year (2006), the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Under Armour AD of the Year Award presented by NACDA (one of four recipients in 2013), the National Football Foundation’s John L. Toner award (2015), Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the Year award (2015), Bobby Dodd AD of the Year (2015) and the Carl Maddox Sports Management Award (2015).
Guided by the Strategic Plan that was approved by Duke’s Board of Trustees in April of 2008, White made an immediate – and lasting – impact on Duke Athletics. In addition to leading the department to unprecedented success in competition, he reshaped the organization into a more efficient department; strengthened ties to both campus and community constituents though consistent outreach efforts; successfully oversaw Duke Athletics’ record-breaking fundraising efforts; streamlined and invested in staffing and forged partnerships with major corporate entities to enhance revenue streams to historically high levels; commissioned and executed a master facilities plan to position Duke well into the 21st Century; implemented significant diversity and inclusion efforts for Duke Athletics; and emphasized a stronger commitment to the university’s intramural, club and recreational sports programs.
Since White’s arrival, Duke has captured eight NCAA Championships – women’s tennis in 2009, men’s basketball in 2010 and 2015, men’s lacrosse in 2010, 2013 and 2014, and women’s golf in 2014 and 2019 – and 23 ACC titles. On the strength of 16 teams participating in postseason competition and robust finishes in several sports, Duke ranked ninth in the 2019 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, which determine an institution’s all-around strength in intercollegiate athletics. The ninth-place showing marked the 16th consecutive year that Duke has ended among the nation’s top 35 programs. In 2011, Duke placed fifth, matching the school’s best finish in the rankings and its 1171.50 points earned were the most in program history. In White’s 11 years at Duke, the Blue Devils placed 17th (2009), 10th (2010), fifth (2011), 16th (2012), 12th (2013), ninth (2014), 20th (2015), 24th (2016), 32nd (2017),11th (2018) and ninth (2019) in the Directors’ Cup standings.
In the past 11 seasons, 106 Blue Devil teams ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams with 20 – men’s basketball (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019), field hockey (2016, 2018), men’s lacrosse (2010, 2013, 2014, 2018), women’s golf (2012, 2015, 2019) and women’s tennis (2009, 2010, 2014) – reaching No. 1. In all, 183 Blue Devil teams advanced to NCAA postseason competition during White’s Duke tenure. In 2018-19, Duke claimed the ACC championship in men’s basketball while winning the national title in women’s golf. Individually, Mitch Finesilver captured the ACC wrestling title at 149 pounds while the rowing V4 boat claimed the first gold medal in program history. Blue Devil student-athletes also claimed two ACC Scholar Athletes of the Year award and Zion Williamson was named the league’s player of the year, rookie of the year and national player of the year by eight media outlets. In 2016, Duke was the only athletic department in the nation to have a football bowl champion, a Sweet 16 appearance in men’s basketball and secure a baseball NCAA postseason berth and in 2018, Duke became just one of four schools over the past decade to win a bowl game, reach the Sweet 16 in both men’s and women’s basketball and advance to the Super Regional round in baseball in the same season.
Individually, 373 student-athletes earned All-America, 725 All-ACC and 306 All-Region or District honors the past 11 years. During White’s tenure, Duke boasts 13 NCAA individual champions in Curtis Beach (indoor track and field heptathlon in 2012 and 2014), Juliet Bottorff (outdoor track and field 10k in 2011), Virginia Elena Carta (women’s golf in 2016), Mallory Cecil (women’s tennis in 2009), Abby Johnston (three-meter diving in 2011), Nick McCrory (platform diving in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014), and Becca Ward (women’s fencing, saber in 2009, 2011 and 2012).
Academically, Duke teams continued strong performances under White. In the 2017-18 academic year, 26 of 27 Blue Devil varsity teams earned grade point averages of 3.0 or better during the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, 112 student-athletes earned Dean’s List honors in the fall semester, while 68 did so in the spring. Overall, 520 Blue Devil student-athletes made the latest All-ACC Honor Roll. As of July 2019, Duke led the conference in Honor Roll selections 30 times in the past 31 years.
In two key elements in tracking a department’s academic success, Duke ranked among the nation’s best again. Statistics for the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) indicated that 98 percent of freshmen student-athletes receiving scholarship aid or recruited individuals participating in programs that do not offer athletic aid graduated from Duke within six years. Seventeen Duke teams achieved a 100 percent GSR in the latest NCAA release. Also, 10 Blue Devil teams were ranked in the top 10 percent of their respective sports in the most recent Academic Performance Rate (APR) Report. In the 2019 report, Duke football (992) ranked tied for fourth among all FBS schools. In all, Duke totaled the highest APR scores among ACC institutions in nine of the league’s sports: football (992), men’s golf (1000), men’s soccer (1000), women’s cross country (1000), women’s fencing (1000), women’s lacrosse (1000), women’s soccer (1000), women’s tennis (1000) and volleyball (1000).
Last year, four Duke student-athletes were selected as CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. In White’s 11-year tenure, former women’s tennis player Parker Goyer won a Rhodes Scholarship (2009), while pole vaulter Sally Liu (2009) and swimmer Allie Speidel (2011) earned Marshall Scholarships.
Under White, Duke has continued its focus on outreach to the local community. Modeling the NCAA Student-Athlete Development program’s commitment to service, learning projects and outreach, more than 600 Duke student-athletes across all sports participated in a combined effort of more than 3,100 community service hours during the 2018-19 academic year.
White’s commitment to the overall mission of the university remains clear. A portion of ticket sales Blue Devil regular season home sporting events are directed annually to the Duke University Libraries and the Rubenstein-Bing Civic Student-Athlete Civic Engagement program (ACE). Per White’s vision from 2011, the Duke Athletics Library Fund has generated significant unrestricted revenue for the Duke University Libraries to support teaching and research across the institution. The civic engagement program, known as ACE, was started in 2015 in a partnership with Stanford University. The foundation of the venture includes student-athletes from both Duke and Stanford working together in under-resourced communities in the United States and abroad. Through immersive three-week summer service assignments that started with 40 student-athletes from the two schools in 2016, the student-athletes had opportunities otherwise not afforded to them during the school year due to academic and athletic responsibilities.
In fall of 2012, Duke University announced the $3.25 billion Duke Forward fundraising campaign for priorities across Duke’s 10 schools, Duke Medicine and a range of university programs. Included in the campaign was a $250 million goal for Duke Athletics to be divided three ways – for facility enhancements and support ($100 million), endowment income ($50 million) and operating funds ($100 million). The initial $250 million goal was exceeded by the Duke Athletics fundraising team by more than $100 million ($365 million was raised in the campaign that ended June 30, 2017). Several significant facility projects were completed, including major renovations to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium, including Blue Devil Tower and the Davis Family Kicking Field at the Brooks Practice Facility, a grand entrance and entertainment space to the front of iconic Cameron Indoor Stadium (Rubenstein Pavilion), and the Scott Family Athletics Performance Center that now houses several of Duke Athletics’ administrative units, as well as new strength and conditioning and sports medicine areas, a ticket office and team merchandise store.
White, who holds a Ph.D. in education, has taught graduate-level classes since 1982 and currently teaches a sports business course in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business as part of Duke’s MBA program.
In August 2003, SI.com (the Sports Illustrated web site) listed White, then at Notre Dame, third in its rankings of the most powerful people in college football. In January 2004, The Sporting News listed him in its Power 100 as third among five names in the “front office” category (and the lone college athletics director among the 100).
White has served on numerous NCAA committees, including the NCAA Council, formerly the association’s highest governing body. In 2012, White was among a select group of college and professional administrators asked to serve on the Expert Advisory Board for the Knight Commission. Moreover, he was the secretary of NCAA Football, a non-profit corporation acting as the “collective voice to promote college football.” For several years, he was a member of the Advocates for Athletic Equity Board of Directors (formerly BCA) and a representative with the football Bowl Championship Series. In addition, he previously was an ex-officio member of the Sugar Bowl Committee during his tenure at Tulane, was a member of the Rose Bowl Management Committee while at Arizona State, and also worked closely with the Fiesta Bowl during his stay in Tempe.
Before becoming an administrator, White served as head track and field coach at Southeast Missouri State and assistant cross country and track and field coach at Central Michigan. He began his coaching career at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Fla., coaching cross country and track and assisting in football and wrestling.
White earned his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in 1983 with an emphasis on higher education administration. In 1985, he completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management. He earned his master’s degree in athletics administration from Central Michigan University in 1976 and his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1972 from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., where he also competed as a sprinter. Additionally, White was recognized with honorary degrees from Loras College (2012), Notre Dame (2008, along with his wife), the United States Sports Academy (2007) and St. Joseph’s College (2001). White is also a Notre Dame Honorary Monogram Club Member.
White and his wife, Jane, a former college track and field coach, have five children and 14 grandchildren.